April 20, 2010

McBride, Crowley Blaze Trail from Canada to LI

by Chris R. Vaccaro | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Stony Brook standout Jordan McBride says the box-to-field lacrosse transition has begun earlier in his native Canada. "We have field lacrosse leagues back home. I was playing in them since I was 9 years old,” he says.

It’s no surprise that Canada produces fantastic lacrosse players. Only over the past five years, though, have many more crossed the border and signed with American universities.

Using Stony Brook as a microcosm for the America East Conference, you’ll see that grabbing the northern studs has paid off.

The Seawolves have six Canadians on their roster, including juniors Jordan McBride and Kevin Crowley, who seem to grab conference honors just about every week for high scoring totals. Both were also selected to the Tewaaraton Trophy nominee list last week.

“It started with Jordan McBride attending a camp back in 2006,” Stony Brook head coach Rick Sowell said. “We saw him play and began to recruit him. We got a little lucky with Kevin Crowley. He and Jordan were really good friends. Kevin became interested and one thing led to another.”

That one thing leading to another has paid dividends for Stony Brook, which sports an 8-3 record thanks to McBride (44g, 6a) and Crowley’s (32g, 21a) combined 103 points.

You would think most of the recruiting comes through video, but Sowell said otherwise. With the amount of tournaments that Canadians attend in the U.S., coaches have plenty of opportunities to get good looks at their best players.

From McBride's and Crowley’s first game at Stony Brook, everyone was pleasantly surprised. They combined for over 10 points in a loss to Virginia.

For years there’s been a white myth about Canadians not being able to adapt to the field game after years of box lacrosse. McBride never had a problem.

“We have field lacrosse leagues back home,” he said. “I was playing in them since I was 9 years old.”

Sowell said there is a noticeable style among players from Canada since they are forced to play with one dominant strong hand in box leagues.

“They certainly have a style,” he said. “Most of us would be able to draw a conclusion that a certain player is Canadian. Whether it’s to pass or shoot, it’s distinct, because they’re growing up playing for the most part box lacrosse, and that has been a factor. But the evolution of the game has helped with adjustments and transformation from Canada to the U.S. You’re seeing more and more of an immediate impact.”

Joining McBride and Crowley at Stony Brook are Kyle Belton, Greg Miceli, Joseph Laforet and Robbie Campbell. Four other schools in the America East have players from Canada – with most hailing from British Columbia or Ontario: Hartford (4), Albany (3), UMBC (1) and Vermont (1).

McBride, like most Canadian children, played hockey for some time, and enjoyed putting one stick down for the other when the seasons collided. Lax won his heart, though, and nowadays he doesn’t put that stick down at all.

“There have been a long list of Canadian players that have impacted our game,” Sowell said. “It’s more exciting that they’re from Stony Brook, though. It says a lot where our program is headed and hopefully we’ll continue to win games.”

America East Men's Lacrosse Notes

UMBC’s Matt Latham netted a career-high six goals in the Retrievers' 12-7 win over Albany… For Albany in that game, Dave Brock tied a career high with four goals. The Great Danes played without All-American attackman Brian Caufield, who is out for the rest of the season after breaking his jaw against Vermont April 11… Vermont’s Derek Lichtfuss (four goals) and Drew Philie (six goals) combined for 10 goals in a 13-6 win over Hartford April 17… Binghamton’s Andy Cook recorded a career-high 10 points (six goals, four assists) in a 17-16 heartbreaking loss to Stony Brook April 17.

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